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Unusual Acts Arrives at the Playhouse - La Jolla Playhouse Blog

Unusual Acts Arrives at the Playhouse

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After two weeks of rehearsal in New York City, the Unusual Acts of Devotion company said goodbye to the city that inspired Terrence McNally’s play and traveled to La Jolla to enter a new phase of rehearsal.  At last we were all together in one rehearsal space in our very own Play Development Center with the entire Playhouse staff to support our every need for props, costumes, set pieces and all manner of theatre-making necessaries.

The Restoration company began its first rehearsal on the same day as the Unusual Acts began its third week, and we had a huge company breakfast to welcome all the actors, directors, designers for both shows, as well as our Resident Theatre companies – Mo’olelo and Moxie Theatre Companies.  It was the largest breakfast ever at the Playhouse and we mixed, mingled and noshed to our heart’s content on bagels and cream cheese supplied by our amazing volunteers, the Playhouse Partners.  A remarkable beginning for the Playhouse’s 26th season!

Last Thursday, the company entered technical rehearsals on a magnificent set created by world-renowned set designer Santo Loquasto.  He and Ben Stanton (lighting designer), John Gromada (sound designer) and Jeff Goldstein (costume designer) were all at their stations in the Weiss theatre ready to begin the process of creating a night on a NYC rooftop on the Weiss stage.

Our director and ringmaster of the tech process, Trip Cullman, moved the actors around the stage as Ben shed his evocative lights to suit the dramatic moment in time.  Costumes were changed – a shirt here, a dress there, Harriet’s hair was dyed and, through it all, Terrence continued to rewrite.  John filled the night air with the sounds of the city, and he and Ben synched the sound and searchlights of a helicopter as it traversed the stage looking for a mysterious stranger on the rooftops of New York.

In the first pass of technical rehearsals in just 2-1/2 days, Unusual Acts of Devotion was ready for its first audience.  Congratulations to a company that demonstrated its own form of devotion – to the play, the playwright and to the theatre at large.  Now it’s ready for our audiences to help shape its journey to opening night.  Bravo to all!


Harriet Harris as "Josie Shelton" and Richard Thomas as "Chick Hogan" in UNUSUAL ACTS OF DEVOTION; photo by Craig Schwartz.

Unusual Acts of Devotion

Doris Roberts and Evan Powell in UNUSUAL ACTS OF DEVOTION; photo by Craig Schwartz.


  1. We and a number of our friends are subscribers and saw Unusual Acts of Devotion on different nights. One set saw it in previews and were told it was a work in progress. I saw it on June 20th. Another couple saw it on the last night. That couple says that the Doris Roberts character was alive at the end of the play.

    When I saw it, I thought she was killed out of sight as sort of a mercy killing by the serial killer who was in the neighborhood and hung out in the shadows and on the water tower for most of the play. It is now a long time and I think I recall her perhaps coming back as a sort of ghost to make remarks after she was dead. Could you shed any light on the changes in what happened to this character.


    Helen Boyden

    Helen Boyden

    5:22 pm

  2. tks for the effort you put in here I appreciate it!


    4:28 am